Photo by Isabel Thalken/Nebraska Communications

Nebraska Athletics Hosts Women's Leadership Panel

By NU Athletic Communications

LINCOLN, Neb. -- Nearly 50 male and female student athletes from the University of Nebraska attended the Women’s Leadership Panel, organized by Nebraska Athletics Life Skills to celebrate women’s history month.

Student athletes from Nebraska Athletics’ Inner Circle attended the event, along with other interested student athletes. Three panelists spoke with the student athletes for an hour at Memorial Stadium on Monday night. Panelists included Karen Jennings, realtor, CBS Home Real Estate; JoAnn Martin, chief executive officer, Ameritas Mutual Holding Company; and Genelle Moore, human resource specialist, Lincoln Public Schools.

The panelists each shared stories or advice from their storied careers to inspire the student-athletes to further develop as young professionals. Martin spoke with the student athletes about the importance of identifying their strengths to help make important life decisions such as what to major in or what careers to pursue. Moore focused on the importance of mentorship and role models, sharing stories from her decades of work with the Lincoln Police force, to challenge the student athletes to seek out mentors in their fields who look like them and have similar interests. Jennings challenged the student athletes to use the people already in their life as mentors, such as their parents.

“My closest mentors were my parents. I remember being a student-athlete, playing on the road, playing Oklahoma, and finding a phone so I could call my dad after. My dad and mom taught me that after you master a skill yourself, you use that skill to teach others, and that’s what I do now. That’s the environment I was raised in,” Jennings said. “You’re here right now to learn, to master your sport, to earn your education, and then hopefully give that back to others. You are where you need to be, you just don’t know it yet. 

Student athletes were given the opportunity to ask questions to the panelists following the program. Men’s gymnast Daniel Leal asked Martin about women and men and their different strengths, and the public’s perceptions about gender in leadership.

“I never believed in statistics. Women didn’t use to rise to the top, part of it was self-inflicted, but part of it was the door wasn’t open. I take it upon myself to help open the door,” Martin answered.

When asked to give one final piece of advice, Moore told the student-athletes, “Dream big. You don’t have do-overs in this life, so aim high the first time.” Martin offered up, “Get in the game. You need to figure out what you need to do to break through, because you do need to break through, so get in the game and try.” Finally, Jennings shared, “Service leadership is what I want to leave you with. It’s not all about you, it’s about participating in the world collectively.”  

The event was co-hosted by the Women’s Center at the University of Nebraska and the Nebraska Athletics Life Skills Department. The Women’s Leaderships Panel was part of Women’s Week at the University of Nebraska, celebrating March as women’s history month.

Inner Circle is one of the top student leadership organizations on campus and consists of student-athlete emerging leaders who focus on leadership, personal and professional development, while connecting with prominent letterwinner alumni through the N Club.




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